HUMZA Yousaf has warned of “significant disruption” to Scotland’s NHS if young doctors go on strike over the next week.
The First Minister said patients should be prepared for widespread cancellations.
From next Wednesday, the medics must go on a 72-hour strike after SNP ministers rejected demands for a 23.5 percent pay rise.
Following a meeting of the Scottish Government’s Resilience Room yesterday – the equivalent of Britain’s Cobra – Mr Yousaf said: “We need to be open to the public.
“A strike would cause significant disruption and result in a significant cancellation of treatments, surgeries and care that the NHS is able to provide.”
The British Medical Association (Scotland) has upheld the measure unless a new offer is made above the current increase of 14.5 per cent over two years.
Mr Yousaf said negotiations would continue and contingency plans would be drawn up.
However, he insisted the offer was “fair and progressive”.
He added, “This is the largest investment in paying young doctors in 20 years.”
44 per cent of medical professionals in the Scottish NHS are young doctors who are fully qualified but have not specialized in any particular field or become consultants or GPs.
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Scottish Labor Health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “Humza Yousaf was the Health Secretary who oversaw the start of this dispute – he must act to end it.”
Meanwhile, the independent Doctors and Dentists Salary Review Body has proposed a six per cent increase for senior NHS staff, which has been accepted by the Government.
Health Secretary Michael Matheson said: “This shows the value we have for all our senior staff.”
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